Uk vistor to florida (buying advice)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sjmayer67, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. sjmayer67, Jan 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012

    sjmayer67 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2012
    Hi All

    I was wondering if anyone could help me.
    I know that this is quite a well discussed topic but most forum debates are a few years old and with laws changing, I thought I'd ask again.

    I've decided to buy a new MacBook Pro when I'm in Florida (from the UK) at the end of March.

    I've read all I can find on the web with regards to the small issues that arise when I use it at home in the UK and have decided it's still worth it.

    My questions are more on the advice as to where to buy?

    I've read that I have to pay sales tax online but, as I see it there can be ways round this. ie. If I buy from someone like Amazon with no physical prescence in Florida I may not have to. Is this correct?
    Do I need to set up an account in the US or just change my account address to that of the villa in florida?
    I know there are aApple stores where I'm going and wondered to get it from them and claiming back the tax at the airport?
    If I so, will the authorities alert UK customs and leaving me paying the VAT back in the UK?

    Again. This isn't about the differences between machines, it purely about getting the machine at the cheapest price.

    My thanks in advance...
  2. WRP macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2011
    If Amazon has no presence in Florida, no you will not pay sales tax. Technically you are supposed to pay a use tax when filing tax returns on all non-taxed online purchases but no one really does. I live in MA and bought my edit system from Amazon for this exact reason, even though there is an Apple store 2 miles from my house. Also sign-up for Amazon Prime (it's a free trial) and you'll get free quicker shipping. Just don't forget to cancel it.

    Unfortunately I have no idea about customs and VAT. Are you bringing it home in the box? If not I don't see how they could prove you didn't fly with it when you came in (unless they physically itemize your luggage, which again, I am unsure).
  3. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    If you bring it home in a sleeve in your bag, I'm nt sure how they could tell you bought it during your trip.
  4. chameleon81, Jan 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012

    chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    Hi I think there is no tax back in Florida. I lived there and tried to get tax back when I was traveling back to my country no one knew about it. I had couple of people saying that such a system does not exist in FL.

    If you bring an iMAC in a box customs may stop you but usually they dont stop anyone. A laptop in a laptop bag is safe.
  5. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I've never heard of a way to get sales tax back.
    You're thinking in UK VAT terms.

    Also you won't be able to get a UK keyboard in the U.S.

    If they do find it when you return to the UK, you might get dinged not only with VAT but also with a hefty fine.
  6. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Thats only likely if they can prove you bought it abroad, and on that trip. If you say post the packaging back separately and just have the laptop + charger with you in a laptop bag you are 100% safe. Its just the packaging that would act as a red flag to customs.
  7. sjmayer67 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2012
    Buying a MacBook Pro from the US *UPDATE*

    Juat a quick update for anyone who's thinking of buying a Macbook Pro in the US while they are on holiday.
    There were a few very minor issues that were worrying me before I went and I thought sharing my experience might help others thinking of doing the same thing.

    The first thing I did, before leaving Britain was make aware to the credit card company that I was A) going to use my card abroad and B) specifically say that I was going to make a purchases on the that would roughly translate to the price of whichever machine you are going for.
    I did actually speak to too via their customer services web based chat too but this didn't actually make any difference, as I will explain later.

    When I got to the States, using my iphone. I logged on to with my details. I then set up a new delivery address of where I was staying (I was in a villa but I am sure you could have put a hotel address with a room number). I then ordered the computer, a case, a memory upgrade that I wanted.

    The first problem I encountered was here.
    Amazon saw the vast differences in addresses i'd previously used and blocked my account. I was sent an email telling me what happened with a link to help me speak to customer services. Lucking for me the villa had a telephone number, so I gave them that and instantly someone called me, I explained what I was doing and that I was on holiday. They someone from a specialist team would call me and sort out the block.
    After a day some did in fact call me, I explained again what I was proposing and that I was on a tight schedule and needed it sorting. Explaining the block on the present orders might take a little time to release he suggested I cancelled the orders and re-ordered, which I did.

    I had signed up for 'amazon prime' too, so the next day (or two-day in the US) cost a few dollars for the bigger items and within a couple of days, everything had been delivered! (remember to cancel the 'prime' trial before the first month is up or before you go home)
    We missed the UPS on the day of delivery but it was no great problem. They left a card and I was able to call them and arrange to pick it up from the local depot, so there wasn't even a reason to stay in for the day and wait for delivery. Superb!!

    The machine was brilliant as expected and I saved a nearly a third of the UK price. the case and the memory was also much cheaper and to be honest I wish I'd brought a longer list and saved even more money!!

    The reason I chose amazon over say, the Apple Store in one of the malls is the simple fact being, you save on the sales tax (which is 6.5% in Florida btw).
    Again I wasn't sure about this and asked in The Apple Store. The girl in the store I spoke to said I would have to pay the tax on but in fact it wasn't the case as Amazon and no physical presence in the state and meant the tax was collected later in their tax assessments (something as a tourist you wouldn't have to pay)

    Anyway.. I had my machine, I upgraded the memory with a toolkit I bought from BestBuy (should have bought in on amazon :)) and I even bought a laptop rucksack from a Walmart for $29.99

    I saved over £600 in total and am more than happy.

    My one gripe is that it wasn't just after the new Macbook Pro's were released...

    But hey, you can't have everything in life!! :)
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I know that this is a dated post, but just to have the correct info for future readers of the thread. Technically, they don't have to prove you bought it out of country... You have to prove you bought it in the country. If they are suspicious of something, they will just seize the items until you can produce the evidence that it was either imported legally or bought domestically.

    The burden of proof is on the traveller, not the border agents.
  9. ectoplasmosis macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2012
    I'm from the UK and have brought loads of Apple gear back from the States, always still wrapped in boxes, with nary but a sniff of customs.

    Dragged a 27" Cinema Display back from Miami a couple of months ago, just got some dude at the airport to wrap it in translucent green plastic (you could easily see the writing on the box through it) and checked it in as luggage. No bother either side.

    They must not give a toss about individuals bringing the odd item back as personal luggage. I say just do it and don't think twice.

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